Saturday, October 13, 2012

Edith Head, Stacy London & A Dressing Room

I am by no means a fashionista and most of my life I’ve had a terrible time dressing for special occasions and having the right thing to wear when I need it.   In trying to build a wardrobe I’ve always tried to buy classic pieces that might work well together but when the time comes to get dressed I never seem to have the vision for an outfit that works.   Some mornings even when I try to think through what to wear to work the night before somehow when I get dressed the look appears more “patchwork” than pulled together. 

Over the summer someone listed Edith Head’s book on their blog and I’m so glad they did (I can’t remember the blogger or I would write them a thank you note).  The book caught my eye because the illustrations were so cute so I bought the book and I have to say not only did I enjoy the book, I was inspired to do something with my wardrobe.

Over Labor Day weekend I felt a little like I was going off to college as I tried on outfits, sorted, threw things out and moved items from closet to closet.  In fact, my bedroom was a bit upside down but it was fun getting a fall wardrobe organized. 

Shortly after cleaning and organizing my closet I read that Stacy London was coming to town so I bought a ticket and this week I went to her lecture.  She was so inspiring.   As a woman in her mid-fifties with many working years ahead of me and a workforce that just keeps getting younger (and cuter!) Stacy’s message was great for me to hear.  The bottom line - be authentic and get comfortable with where you are and with the body shape that you have instead of beating yourself up because of what you wish you were.  While she was quite witty with her presentation her message was passionate and honest and she addressed many questions that were no laughing matter.  I really appreciated hearing about her personal struggles (weight gain, scarring and more) and why she wrote her latest book. 

There were two messages that served as my personal takeaways – “yes, and….” And this question - why is it that as women age, instead of striving for cuteness, just accept being elegant? There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who ages gracefully. Even if you don’t buy her book you might enjoy reading this NPR interview.

I’m still reading The Truth About Style  and I know that I will continue to work on my wardrobe but now I feel like I need to work on my closet and I would like a dressing room.   I hope my friend Heather doesn’t mind if I share her recent closet/dressing room renovation.   It is beautiful (and so is she)!!!  Heather knocked out a wall in her walk-in closet so that it opened up into a spare bedroom and voila!   She now has a dressing room!!!!


  1. Wow, I need to buy the book! Sounds like this book and lecture would and could be helpful to women of all ages. I love what Heather did to her closet, fabulous! Thanks JoJo for sharing your thoughts.

    The French Hutch

  2. I don't have much of a wardrobe right now. Being retired keeps me pretty basic.

  3. I love that dressing room! Wow!

    I've worn a uniform almost my entire life as I went to a parochial all girls school through high school, and then nursing school, and then worked as a nurse in scrubs, so my wardrobe has always been a causal one. Even now I own more jeans and t-shirts or turtlenecks than anything else. I am looking forward to ahving a larger closet when I move to Colorado. Still waiting for our house to sell in Brooklyn!

  4. I have always been a fan of Stacy. I keep telling all of my family to nominate me for What Not To Wear-lol. I never had a problem dressing for work, special occasions or play until I hit my mid 50's. I am now 58. I don't want to dress too young, I don't want to dress to I am going to check out Stacy's book. Thanks for letting me know about it!

  5. I listened to Stacy London's interview on CBC yesterday and loved the 'yes, and....'
    Every day is a challenge to dress for work in something that will see me through several very different scenarios. I have a couple of tried-and-true combos that are always winners and I try to duplicate the feeling I get from them whenever I go shopping.

  6. What a wonderful dressing room your friend has! I need to clean out my closet, donate, sort, and organize...*sigh*

  7. Oh, do I need to clean out my closet! I try each season, but fail at the art of editing. I'm going to look for these books. As for the dressing room..........only in my dreams. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing! ~ Sarah

  8. Both of those books sound great and thanks for the link to the NPR interview. I'm going to try and listen to it. What a lovely dressing room your friend has.

  9. I am very petite so I am always conscious of styles that work and don't overwhelm me. I think that once you work with your body type, it's easier to shop. I like to keep everything simple and classic and add flair with accessories. Years ago when I first went to Rome and Paris I was knocked out by how chic the women of all ages looked. I think you are on the right track! Love that dressing room!!

    Susan and Bentley

  10. Looks like a neat book. Love the dressing room.

    - The Tablescaper

  11. I so need to read both of these books. I, too am having difficulty dressing my body now that I am older. It's especially hard for me because I love vintage clothing and women were so tiny back then. It gets really depressing when you continually find dresses that you love but know that your waistline is miles too big for any of them. But learning to dress for my body type and finding a fit that flatters would do wonders. Thanks for the book suggestions!

    - Denise
    Retro Gran

  12. Aging gracefully is an acquired skill that takes lots of practice as most of us just don't like getting older. Finding your own style helps lots. Great thoughts you've shared.

  13. Hi Jojo, I have always been an Edith Head fan, watching her name on the credits of movies and tv shows, so I am fascinated by her book. I clicked on the link and read the Vogue updated version. I was surprised to see the similarities of the suggestions from 1967 and today! I must find the book, as the drawings themselves seem worth it! I won't even begin talking about my wardrobe and closet. You know, everyone wants the huge walk in closet, but really, it is just an easy way to keep so many things I don't need! I went through my things in the cedar closet this weekend and found a few beautiful maternity clothes--my "baby" is 21. Linda